Jar City (Myrin) (2006)

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Released 6-May-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 90:52 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Baltasar Kormákur
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson
Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir
Atli Rafn Sigurðsson
Kristbjörg Kjeld
Þorsteinn Gunnarsson
Theódór Júlíusson
Þórunn Magnea Magnúsdóttir
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Mugison


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Icelandic Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When Holberg, an elderly man, is brutally murdered, Inspector Erlendur (Ingvar E. Sigurdsson) and his team of Oli (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) and Elinborg (Olafia Hronn Jonsdottir) have few clues except an old photograph of a young girl’s grave found in Holberg’s flat. Meanwhile, Erlendur himself is having troubles with his estranged daughter Eva (Agusta Eva Eriendsdottir) who is both taking drugs and pregnant.

     With painstaking investigation, the team discovers that the grave pictured is that of a four year old girl who died of a brain disease in 1974, over 30 years previously, after which the child’s mother committed suicide. Gradually, Erlendur pieces together a story of rape, police corruption, violence and possible murder in 1974 that may be, somehow, linked to Holberg’s murder. It seems that many people, including the brutal gaoled maniac Ellidi (Theodor Juliusson) and the dead girl’s aunt Elin (Porunn Magnea Magnusdottir), who keeps a vigil over the dead girls grave, know far more than they are saying. And what can Erlendur make of Orn (Atli Rafn Sigurdsson), a geneticist working with the Icelandic National Genetic Database, who has recently lost his own daughter to a rare hereditary brain disease called neurofibromatosis and is conducting his own investigations?

     Jar City (original title Myrin) is a haunting police murder mystery from Iceland, written and directed by Baltasar Kormakur based on a novel by Arnaldur Indridason. There is nothing flashy here, no car chases, gun fights or explosions; this is a film of small clues and tentative steps, where few people are entirely blameless and the truth more than some can bear. The performances are all excellent; low key, sombre and realistic, which lends authenticity to the events. The sparsely populated, windswept, treeless landscapes, the dark corridors and spartan furnishings of the offices and flats, add to the feeling of isolation and loss, of crimes committed in the past that still have a devastating impact upon the present.

     We do not get to see a lot of Icelandic films in this country; I can recall only Noi the Albino (2003) although I’m sure there must have been others. Now we are fortunate to have Jar City as an example of the Icelandic film industry. If you like a haunting mystery set in a bleak, wintery landscape with an intelligent script, excellent acting and a satisfying conclusion, take a look at Jar City.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Jar City is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a muted, sombre print, in keeping with the subject matter and wintery look of the film. Colours are deliberately muted and dull; there are no bright clothes, green grass or clear blue skies, all is brown, grey and overcast and even the water is gunmetal grey. Skin tones are pale as well. Contrast is on the soft side but detail is OK and blacks solid, although the shadow detail is sometimes murky. There is very heavy film grain in many shots (it was shot on 16mm) and some aliasing, but otherwise artefacts were absent.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font. They occasionally flash past too quickly to read fully but contained no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

     The layer change at 50:28 resulted in a slight, but noticeable, pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is Icelandic Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded, at 224 Kbps. In truth it did not have a lot to do as this is a film of silences and dialogue without action sequences as such. Dialogue was clear at all times and the surrounds used for music and some ambient effects. Very occasionally my system directed some music or noise to the subwoofer.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The original score by Mugison frequently sounds like Christian religious music with chants and organ music predominating. There are religious overtones in the film’s plot as well, so the music is mostly effective although it seems overblown at times.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Edmond (2:09), The King (2:09), The Ordeal (1:43) and 36 Quai des Orfevres (2:04).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are a number of European Region 2 versions of the film including UK and Benelux DVDs. None have any extras but they do include a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio not available in Region 4. I cannot find a Region 1 release. Given the nature of this film, I doubt it is worthwhile importing from Region 2 just for the audio.

Summary

     Jar City (Myrin) is a haunting police murder mystery from Iceland. If you like an intriguing mystery set in a bleak, wintery landscape with an intelligent script, excellent acting and a satisfying conclusion, take a look at Jar City.

     The video and audio are acceptable. The theatrical trailer is the only extra although nothing more is available on any other version released in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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